The simple sophisticate is someone who prefers quality over quantity, sensible living over mindless consumption, personal style instead of trendy fashions, has an insatiable curiosity for life’s endless questions and a desire to live a truly fulfilling life rather than being led around by the nose. Inspired by her lifestyle blog The Simply Luxurious Life, Shannon Ables (the original Simple Sophisticate) shares with listeners tips on how to live a refined life on an everyday income, a life of true contentment. Founded on the principle of the art of living a life of quality over quantity, episodes explore topics ranging from creating an everyday life you love living, strengthening mindfulness practices, preparing seasonally delicious meals, building a capsule wardrobe, traveling the world (Francophiles and Anglophiles tune in as Paris as well as the English countryside are favorite destinations), and living life to the fullest without breaking the bank because living well is really quite simple.
*illustration by artist Sarah Löcker exclusively commissioned for the show
375: How to Become a More Skilled Participant in the Living of Our Life
The concluding note to readers that author, yoga and meditation instructor Deborah Adele shares in her book Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice includes the wish that they become more skilled participants in the living of their lives. And with the wisdom she shares in her book, she provides them with the tools to do just that.
Having shared various insights here on the blog gained from her book, specifically in this post about the simple conscious everyday choice that leads to true fulfillment, and as we conclude the two month-long series of 'new year, new life' as you continued along the way to making the change you set to bring to be as the new year began, I wanted to explore two simple, yet powerfully crucial habits that will make the difference you seek inevitable.
A skilled participant.
In order to be 'skilled' we must know the skills that would be beneficial to acquire. And in order to embody being a participant in our lives, we must be engaged, we must act, we must take part.
While we have covered multiple skills throughout this podcast, here on the blog and in TSLL's books (and will compile and detail them all in a linear approach to cultivating contentment in TSLL's upcoming Contentment Master Class video course), the two skills, I want to talk about today are simple to adopt and when we do, the quality of our life and everydays is amplified for the better:
Choose to live instead of wait. In other words, Living vs. Waiting - choose the former. Choose to savor rather than to rush. In other words, Savoring vs. Rushing - again, choose the former. Let's dive into each of these in more detail . . .
Check out the Show Notes for this epsiode on TSLL blog - https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast375
374: What I Have Learned in French Class, So Far - part sept (7)
Bonjour à tous !
Just last week, I concluded FR 105 with Washington DC's Alliance de Français, a Zoom/online course that met twice a week, two hours each time since just after Thanksgiving.
You may remember that Part Six of this series was shared during TSLL's Annual French Week which shared what I had learned through FR 104 and 103, and now it is time to share some progress!
Thankfully, there has been progress and while I chose to take Everyday Situational French this fall due to my travel schedule, this once-a-week meeting provided me the opportunity to keep the French language on the tip of my tongue before I could dive back in to the regular course work.
Some of what I share will be from the Situational French course, but most of it was learned during FR 105.
I am tickled to share that while my French definitely has a looooooong way to go, the ease I am feeling constructing basic sentences with a few different tenses delights me to no end. Last year at this time I was nervous and hesitant to attempt to say anything slightly different than what I said the week before when the professor would greet us, but now I at least can speak without hesitation and share what I did over the weekend.
With that said, with growth comes growing pains, and I had a few moments throughout the past 10 weeks of frustration when it just wasn't making sense; however, I have a new-to-me professor, she being French and also a long-time educator, I was and am so grateful for her expertise and professionalism. She pushed, but then lightened up and stuck with us when she could tell we were struggling. In those moments, she encouraged us to keep trying and then doubled down on reviewing that particular difficult piece of the language to ensure the concept was acquired. As a fellow educator, what I observed was a keen awareness demonstrating her skill of both the language and how to teach it based on where the learner was and not holding true to the lesson plan if the class wasn't ready to move forward. I am eager to step back into her class when courses resume later this month. I have made it to FR 201! (We now are enjoying a two week vacances.)
Tune in to discover 13 things I have learned so far in French class.
View the Show Notes — https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast374
373: How to Nourish Your Creative Being: Cultivate An Artistic Hearth & Home
"Part of art making is living your life in such a way that your work gets done, over and over—and that means, among other things, finding a host of practices that are just plain useful . . . a life lived within productive patterns. The life of a productive artist becomes filled with useful conventions and practical methods. And in truly happy moments those artistic gestures move beyond simple procedure, and acquire an inherent aesthetic all their own. They are your artistic hearth and home." —David Bayles & Ted Orland, authors of Art & Fear
In unforced or unexpected moments, ideas, solutions and connections appear at the forefront of our mind providing a sense of relief, exhilaration and celebration we may have never thought possible.
Such wondrous moments indeed do seem to the onlooker and to the unaware individual to appear magically, and while there will always be an element involved beyond our control, the good news is we have far more contribution to ensuring such ahas happen and happen more frequently than we may have initially thought.
The paradox of being a professional creative in any field that must produce work outside of a robotic construct, so this stretches well beyond that of a traditional artist, although most certainly, this need of creating an artistic hearth and home is essential to an artist of any medium, is that the day and life needs to have structure in order to create the freedom to discover and then to bring to being that which is discovered by the undistracted mind.
From writing to parenting, to teaching to engineering, to designing whether in clothing, décor or in the graphic arts and even to leading or managing people in any career field, creativity, remaining open to receiving the ideas that wish to be discovered, is present and powerful. And it is up to each of us to nurture an artistic hearth & home for it to be discovered on a regular basis. Because it can be.
As we continue to move through the first weeks of the year, our intentions remain clear and all of our efforts, each small regular change of habit contribute to the bringing to fruition the change or outcome we seek. Most importantly, we must enjoy the journey in order to remain upon it which is why I wanted to bring today's episode/post to you.
When we thoughtfully and with intention curate our sanctuary to be an artistic hearth and home, we not only provide security and safety for ourselves to reside throughout our days and in-between our trips to work and life outside of the home, we also create warmth which encourages us to grow, expand and evolve in ways we have never been but now know is the next best step, the step that keeps niggling at us to let be and to stop holding back out of fear and doubt.
So how do we go about cultivating an artistic hearth & home?
Tune in to discover the 10 nourishing ideas.
372: Simple Rituals to Enhance the Everyday and the 5 Characteristics of Simply Luxurious Rituals
We explore the topic of rituals frequently here on TSLL (explore all of the posts and episodes shared thus far here), and initially it may seem redundant to do so again in today's episode/post, but as I have experienced in my own life, my appreciation for the benefits and happiness deepens and therefore I understand even more fully the power of carefully choosing rituals to tailor to the lifestyle we love living.
It is in the tailoring that our daily lives and future outcomes we hope will materialize have the opportunity to enrich our experience and bear the fruit we have envisioned. As the saying goes, when we know better what will nourish us well, we then can do better, and such is the case with carefully chosen and savored rituals.
First, let's look at the five characteristics of rituals before we take a look at examples you may want to add or adapt to suit your everyday life.
View the detailed Show Notes for today's episoe (#372) here - https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast372
371: Savoring A Quiet Christmas — Simple, Yet Significant
Whether or not snow has fallen come December, the warmth and cheer of good tidings appearing about town, the neighbors, in the shops and arriving in the mail by way of the annual Christmas cards sent from friends and family living near and far always wraps me in a figurative hug.
This year, similar to last year, I will be spending Christmas at home in Bend, Oregon, and it is exactly where I want to be. And leading up to the festive day has been and will continue to be sprinkled with intentional activities, pastimes and nibbles that create a festive, cozy atmosphere I feel most fortunate to be able to savor.
Each of us will go through seasons in our lives, stepping out of old chapters and into new ones when we embrace our courage to welcome what is awaiting to be given to us, and such is the case for me that I am delighting in quiet Christmases.
As Nigel Slater eloquently writes in The Christmas Chronicles, in his delicious, image evoking prose, "Christmas is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike. It is a cultural event as much as a religious one". I share the rest of the quote in last year's holiday episode - #347 if you want to have a look, but part of why Christmas and the entirety of November and December is treasured by so many is that it is celebrated around the world and it is celebrated by people of a variety of different beliefs or non-beliefs, and that is a reason to smile and appreciate the season all the more.
Perhaps inspired a bit by Beth Kempton's beloved book that I know many TSLL readers have enjoyed and return to reading each November and December, and adding to the list shared last year, episode #347, that included 9 Ways to Savor Christmas at Home, Alone, Simply Luxuriously, I wanted to share today's episode of how to savor a quiet Christmas with as few or as many people as you desire, and reveal how these thoughtful ways to enjoy this special time of year, while not extravagant, complex or even requiring money, can bring a deep richness to the season, making it all the more special.
Let's take a look at the list.
Visit the Show Notes:
370: Savoring the Many Benefits of Being Single at Heart, my talk with author Dr. Bella DePaulo
"My mission in putting the single at heart on the map is to rewrite what it means to be single. Single life, to those of us who are single at heart, is a joyful place, a place to learn and grow. It is a big-hearted, expansive, meaningful life full of possibilities . . . intimacy, to us, is personal; in that domain as in all others, we follow our hearts rather than the cultural rulebooks. We chart our own life courses, with meaningfulness, psychological richness, and authenticity as our guide." —Dr. Bella DePaulo, author of Single at Heart: The Power, Freedom, and Heart-Filling Joy of Single Life
Joining me on the podcast today is a guest who has courageously chosen to share that she thoroughly and unapologetically savors living a single life. The leading expert on single living, Dr. Bella DePaulo dispels the myths that pervade modern-day (and historic) cultures around the world when it comes to being single by looking at the research that is often cherry-picked and misleading as it speaks to in what type of relationship status one finds the most happiness. But most importantly, in her new book that was just released yesterday December 5th (2023), Single at Heart: The Power, Freedom, and Heart-Filling Joy of Single Life, she focuses on an abundance of findings that reveal the many benefits of living single. From improved health and deeper life satisfaction as we age.
Thankfully, so much of what is portrayed in media - films, books, television, pretty much everywhere - is not an accurate depiction of where and how happiness is found. By no means is Single at Heart an anti-marriage or anti-couple book, but rather a book that reveals that those of us who have chosen to be single, who find it far more fulfilling than being in a traditional couple, need only trust our inner compass to continue to choose the life that brings us fulfillment. As she points out, the world would be far more peaceful and content if we would trust what we know to be true of ourselves - those who wish to be in a couple would find people who truly wanted to be in a couple, and those who savored their single life would not feel forced to choose a life that was not nourishing.
Tune in to today's conversation where we will talk about the priority and value of freedom as well as benefits of solitude for the Single at Heart, and also speak to how those who are widows/widowers, as well as divorcees, can step into a new chapter of revelation about where and how joy can be cultivated. Dr. DePaulo discusses the importance of nurturing The Ones rather than just The One and reminds us that courageously saying we love our single life is what is needed to change the view that the culture errantly holds on to.
A very lovely concept
This is a lovely show and concept. I do have a suggestion to the host. As a fellow nasal girlie, blowing your nose does wonders for the voice. Some episodes are far more impacted than others, and I have a lot of empathy that it’s something difficult to regulate. Slowing down talking also does wonders for the host’s general cadence.
Overall, it is wonderful to hear someone take pleasure in life’s beauty and joys! Thank you for the beautiful podcast, and I hope it’s OK to give these (unrequested) tips.
This was a wonderful podcast! I loved every moment …. Thank you!
Great in concept, terrible in execution.
Clearly states that her definition of simple does not mean slow, but repeats the same information so many times you would think she views her listeners as being incompetent. I can find my own way of being sophisticated without wasting endless hours listening to this.